You’ve heard it right? The answer to all those magazine articles every summer proclaiming the best ways to get your body bikini-ready? Here’s all there is to it: get a bikini, and put your body in it**.
It doesn’t sound so hard, does it? Oh…but it is. I didn’t think I had a bikini body. And yes, I believed there was a thing.
I have thunderous thighs: thunderous JIGGLY thighs, saddlebags that jut out incongruously from my upper thighs, just THERE, never going anywhere. And Hips. I have hips. They stick out too.
And although I have a slim waistline, I’ve got a belly now, and a second boob area below my bra line. Forties…
My upper arms are swingy and droopy and right above my elbows I have a little fold of fat that just hangs out there. You’ve seen it.
But, as it turns out I DO HAVE a bikini body. All I needed was a bikini. So last year, at age 42, I bought my first bikini. This one by Hackwith Design House. NEVER in a million years did I ever think I’d wear a bikini; wearing a bathing suit of any kind was traumatic enough, let alone one that showed my stomach.
I don’t know where this idea came from, but it’s always been with me: that I should not subject the people around me to my fatness. That I should try my best to look like I was NOT fat. That is how I proceeded through high school and college, keeping covered in baggy clothes and moving quietly through life, so that no one would see me. Who wanted to look at me? Why should they? I was so fat. And consequently, ugly.
Gradually, I’ve overcome that; posting pictures of myself online both helps and hurts. And I’m not going to lie, losing weight helped too. Mostly, Pure Barre has made the biggest difference; I FEEL strong and beautiful every day I’m in the studio, and beyond. But the feeling still tiptoes in here and there. Sometimes I’ll look at myself in a fitted JP dress without spanx on and think “oy, who wants to see your saddlebags sticking out like that?? put your spanx on!!” And others, I’ll say f-it and let it all hang out.
Now, I’m just saying f-you more often. To the voices in my head mostly, but also to whoever ingrained in me early on that I should be ashamed of my body because it was bigger than other girls’.
That’s also, incidentally, how I approach my personal style. I started to write this entire post on finding my style, as an answer to a question I received, either in a comment or in an email, recently asking me to expand more on that subject. The easy answer to that is I haven’t really; I don’t think I really have a style, besides black dresses, black pants, and black skirts, with white tops, of course.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the key to my personal style is saying f-off to the nasty, negative voices in my head, and wearing what I like.
*The top was too big for me in the boob area, and I hated the tie back (since I spend all my time in the pool sitting in it with my back against the wall), so I took it to my tailor to have her sew the back together and cut the straps to make it into a halter top. Much better 🙂 and I didn’t have to buy a new top!!
**And of course there’s also the oft-referenced, “How To get your body Caftan Ready for summer.”